The Civil Rights Movement vs. The Black Liberation Movement
On The Duty of Civil Disobedience, written by Henry David Thoreau, explains that civil disobedience is the act of standing for your beliefs even though they are against the law. Thoreau goes on to say that the government (because it is ruled by the majority) is not always right for everyone especially the individual and the minority. Over the course of American history, there have been many different groups formed for the purpose of civil disobedience. The two that I am going to focus on are the activists of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers of the Black Liberation Movement.
The Civil Rights Movement began in 1954 with the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education. It was basically lead by Martin Luther King Jr. whose teachings were of peaceful protesting and boycotting in order to achieve the goals of integration and equality for Black Americans (Small). The Black Liberation Movement started a few years later in 1960 and was later taken over and popularized by the Black Panthers in 1966. The basis of this movement was not just black equality but also black independence by any and every means necessary.
The Panthers wanted blacks to be in control of their own neighborhoods (Acoli). These two protest movements had similar but at the same time very different platforms. The difference their effectiveness was caused by the difference in the techniques.
The similarities in the two programs would be the things that they did for the community. Even though the Panthers were more violent in their ways they still had a positive message to send out. Both the Civil Rights movement and the Black Liberation
movement were meant to uplift the black people in America.
They were both very community based, but they just felt differently about the techniques needed to help their people (Burroughs).
The Civil Rights Movement was a much more peaceful protest than the Black Liberation Movement because people like Martin Luther King were at the fore front in the fight for black civil rights. The purpose if this movement was to gain equality for
Black Americans. The activists of the Civil Rights Movement were protesting for things like the integration of schools and other public places, and equal rights under the law. Martin Luther King was striving for his people to be seen and treated as equals to their white counterparts. The protest would mostly consist of sit-ins, marching, and boycotting.
The activists of this movement preached non-violence and peaceful protest. For example, during many sit-ins the police would get involved. Usually this meant violence, but not by the civil rights activists who were taught not to retaliate. The protestors would take brutal beatings and do nothing in return (Small).
On the other hand is the Black Liberation movement, which was headed by the Black Panthers. This movement leaned more towards black separation in order to form their own equal communities.
The Panthers believed that Black Americans would never be equals in a white world and therefore they must form their own. Not only did the Black Liberation Movement believe in separation, they also believed that aggression was needed to reach this goal. In the official Black Panther Party Platform and Program the Second Amendment, which is the right to bear arms, is used to justify why the Panther Party always carried guns. The Platform even used the preamble to the Declaration of
Independence as part of their argument. The end their official Platform with, When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, (Oberlin.edu).
This was the Black Panthers main goal, to separate from White Americans, and did not feel that passive behavior was effective. The Panthers thought that if violence was used to try and stop their cause than violence was needed to keep their cause going. Some of the major beliefs and techniques of the Panther party were self-defense, which for them meant being heavily armed at all times; mass organization, which meant serving the people; and using propaganda, which meant spreading their message through .